Differential response to a selective cannabinoid receptor antagonist (SR141716: rimonabant) in female mice from lines selectively bred for high voluntary wheel-running behaviour

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Abstract

Exercise is a naturally rewarding behaviour in human beings and can be associated with feelings of euphoria and analgesia. The endocannabinoid system may play a role in the perception of neurobiological rewards during and after prolonged exercise. Mice from lines that have been selectively bred for high voluntary wheel running (high runner or HR lines) may have evolved neurobiological mechanisms that increase the incentive salience of endurance-type exercise. Here, we test the hypothesis that endocannabinoid signalling has been altered in the four replicate HR lines as compared with four nonselected control lines. After 18 days of acclimation to cages with attached wheels, we injected mice with rimonabant (SR141716), a selective cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist. During the time of normal peak running, each mouse received, in a randomized order, intraperitonial injection of rimonabant (0.1 or 3.0 mg/kg) or vehicle, over 9 days. Drug response was quantified as wheel revolutions, time and speed 10–70 min postinjection. Rimonabant decreased running in all mice; however, female HR mice differentially decreased running speed and distance (but not time) as compared with control females. We conclude that altered endocannabinoid signalling plays a role in the high wheel running of female HR mice.

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